Cookie Monster: Olive Oil Pistachio Biscotti

Carrie Vasios

When I was in college, as a special series for seniors, we got to attend some free Italian wine tastings. Everyone, eager to get as much free wine as possible, overtly displayed their love and appreciation. "Notes of cherry? Ah yes. And smoke, like the burning of twigs in the autumnal Tuscan air." Yet when the series switched to a special tasting of olive oils—taken plain by the demitasse spoonful—people were less than thrilled. "Ew this is gross." The lines for seconds shortened.

Personally, I was in heaven. I could drink good olive oil by the cupful. I love trying different varieties, including the super peppery kind that catches you in the back of your throat. I also love to bake with olive oil in a way that highlights that olive oil. Like these cookies.

These biscotti are simple. They taste like olive oil and pistachios. There's a little sweetness there, and a seemingly heavy dose of salt (which really just emphasizes the olive oil), but generally speaking what you taste is those first two things. Olive oil. Pistachios. Simple but perfect, which is why I polished off the whole batch over the course of four days, averaging about 4 cookies a day. With coffee. With tea. Alone. Gobbled down all.

I'm going to go ahead and tell you I use Frantoia olive oil not because anyone is telling me to, but because there is so much crappy olive oil available at Whole Foods and Amazon and I think this actually meets a good intersection of taste (fruity, with a hint of pepper) and price (around $20 for 34 ounces). Do I use it for everyday cooking? Egads, I do. But you don't have to. This has enough flavor that it could be considered a "good" olive oil used for salad dressings or other such applications. Of course there are even more awesome oils out there, and if you have really good olive oil and you're not hoarding it to drizzle on bread, use it here too. Or grab a spoon.